5 Anime That Will Make You Cry


Some of the best anime can invoke so many emotions.  Anger, fear, disgust, joy, love, and even sadness.  While some may dismiss the notion of ever shedding a tear, it’s obvious that companies like Key are out to get them.  So whether you want to admit it or not, here are a list of 5 anime that will tug at those tear ducts and get the waterworks going.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
tokyomagnitudeTwo years prior to the devastating 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan in 2011, there was an animated series about an 8.0 hitting Tokyo.  Sadly the animated series could have never imagined the horror and sorrow that was present in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, it still has to be noted for what it portrayed in 2009.

The show’s dark nature is present from the beginning.  Not shying too far from death and despair.  As Mirai and her little brother Yuki struggle through the collapsing structures and society around them.  It addresses starvation, anarchy, survival, and even death.  However the true test of one’s tear fighting nature was at its final conclusion.  When the strength of the siblings Mirai and Yuki are truly tested.

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
anohanaFrom the very first few scenes, it’s very obvious that Anohana will pull some heart-strings.  Opening up with the main protagonist Jinta Yadomi being able to see the ghost of his long departed friend Meiko Honma.  Though the show keeps rather light-hearted at first, with the absolutely adorable Meiko and silly circumstances, the meat of the show is in the struggles.

Of course the entire time, Jinta is fighting with the reason why he’s able to see Meiko and friends and family take his actions as disrespectful to Meiko’s memory.  Since no one else can see her, they believe he’s trying to drag up her memory and tarnish it. It’s in these struggles and the ultimate inevitable conclusion that brings ones eyes to a blurry sorrowful shade.

Air TV
airtvsadWhile I could list many of Key’s shows, I managed to break it down to two.  Quite frankly I’d be doing a disservice not to mention them.  One of those two is Air TV.  Keep in mind, the TV series and not the movie.  This is because Key’s masterful character development comes in the series entirety.  It’s a process of getting you connected to the characters, and it’s a formula that they are good at.

The story follows Yukito as he’s traveling in search of a mentioned “girl in the sky.”  He comes across a town with a girl named Misuzu who claims her other self is flying in the skies above her.  Interested in this girl, he stays at the town to learn more and in doing so he gets pulled in a dangerous and tragic cycle that Misuzu herself may fall prey to.

While the main tear jerker in this series was indeed its conclusion, which to this day the final song still gets me teary eyed, there was also some powerful moments in the side characters as well.  It puts it easily as one of the most sorrowful stories to date that I’ve seen.

clannadsadWhile the pinnacle of this series was definitely in the Afterstory arc, the series in its entirety was a rollercoaster full of emotions and countless tears. It all starts off with the story of the little girl at school named Fuka. Shortly after meeting her, we get to know why she is crafting starfish out of wood. This tale then turns into a mission for people to be invited to her sister’s wedding. All while the tragedy unfolds on the side lines of what her sister is going through and what happens to Fuka herself.

A few episodes later we are introduced to Kotomi, the second in our tragic tales. It’s obvious to the viewer that she has a more deep-rooted connection to Tomoya that we don’t see right off the bat. This turns into a struggle of acceptance for what she has gone through that isn’t too pretty.

The final arc that we point out that could lead to some serious tear shed is the trials that Tomoya and Nagise face in their future. As their bonds get stronger they face a danger that could very well cost them their future together. This is only solidified in an emotional conclusion (as well as with Kotomi and Fuka) by the very master writing of Key. It’s the bonds and connections you make with the characters that makes you root for them and ultimately shed tears with them.

Grave of the Fireflies
graveofthefirefliesDuring war-time in Japan, Setsuko’s hometown is ravaged by destruction.  After his mother is killed during an airstrike, he’s left to take care of his younger sister Seita.  This ultimately leads him to fend for food and shelter just to survive while the fate of their father fighting the war is unknown.

Ask anywhere “Saddest Anime Ever” and you’ll most definitely hear Grave of the Fireflies.  It’s a classic and tragic tale that will leave anyone heartbroken and with tearful eyes.  It’s in no way a happy tale, but rather one that will smash your heart and leave you speechless.  Whether you’re an otaku, anime fanatic, casual anime fan, or even hate anime; you must watch Grave of the Fireflies.  You won’t regret it.

That rounds up our list of 5 anime that will make you cry.  There are tons more that can be covered, such as Little Busters, Kanon, and Sky with a Rising Half-Moon, Sword Art Online, Saikano, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and more ; but there’s only so much time!  We hope you enjoyed this list and possibly got some ideas of shows that you may want to check out.  If any made your cry, or maybe you’re tough as nails, let us know in the comments below.  If you have any suggestions for others to check out, please throw them at us!

Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 1300 shows. Outside of Otaku Spirit, he has been a judge for the Anime Awards and aided in reviewing titles for some publishers. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Sharing this joy, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.

  • By Alex, February 5, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

    Just wondering, you mentioned SAO at the end, which part did you think was sad? I can’t remember getting particularly emotional watching any of it, but I guess I wasn’t that attached to any of the characters lol.

  • By Zeruel, February 5, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

    Some consider it to be pretty emotional at times. Like most anime, it really depends on how well you connect to the cast. Some are more relateable I guess. The points that I can recall is when Kirito’s small guild gets ambushed and he fights to “save” the girl only to find it was helpless. Then there’s the part in which the original world was ending and they figured they would die.

    Thanks for the comment Alex!

  • By Neowned, February 7, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

    I was thinking in the back of my mind that it would just be listing filled all with Clannad: After Story. Seriously that series was so strong and impactful for me, that it is the reason I began watching Anime in the first place. Watching Ushio cry, always turns me into a wreck, with tissues in each hand. Truth be told starfish girl got to me as well 🙁 .

    I tend to watch the Subbed, over the dubbed, and I personally feel more connected with the charcters than the Dubbed, which by most accounts are hollow.

  • By Zeruel, February 7, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

    Hehe, it’s almost tempting! Either that or an entire list of Key shows. You definitely hit the nail on the head for Ushio. So sad!

    I agree when it comes to emotion in translation. It’s one of the points I hit in my article on Dub Vs Sub that I wrote a while back. Sometimes either the actor doesn’t respect the media, or they just can’t relate with the wording given.

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